…if I vote Green, I get Blue.
To an extent this is true, this is part of the problem with our electoral system. Winner takes it all and smaller parties get completely marginalised. One of the Green Party’s main policies is electoral reform towards proportional representation to avoid this situation. I have tried tactical voting in the past and don’t feel that it worked. I voted for someone I didn’t really believe in and it didn’t change the outcome of the result. If we had an election where everybody voted for who they actually wanted and not the person to stop the person they hate, then we might get a turnout more reflective of our views. In order to achieve this our elected individuals should reflect a broader cross section of our communities. This won’t happen whilst the same two parties remain in charge.
Even worse is that if you don’t vote at all, you’ll probably get more of the same. My local council election in 2013 had a turnout of just over a quarter of voters. 5000 local residents didn’t vote for their councillor who currently has a majority of just shy of 700. You could argue active apathy due to disconnect with voters which is what we would try to address. Another big Green policy is to take local decisions in local hands. If people could see that their vote had an effect, then maybe they would vote more.
….all you politicians are the same.
Again correct to an extent. We feel most politicians are the same. The Green Party however is different to all the others in how it is funded, from voluntary member donations and not large donations or trade unions. The fact we are different and don’t have our noses in the trough mean we might actually provide some sort of opposition and scrutiny to local policymakers. Although most of our local members haven’t held public office, we give up a lot of our time for free to provide a Green alternative. You might call out inexperience, but you can’t accuse us of being in it for the money!
We are also locally run and are given a lot of free reign by the national party. This allows us to come up with policies that work locally and are not dictated by national policy such as Labour’s blanket ban on electoral co-operation.
…you only care about the environment.
This is a common misconception although our media coverage tends to be about environmental concerns we have a full range of policies which you can read about here in our 2015 manifesto. We have well developed and radical policies about taxation, electoral reform, social equality and much more.
What’s more is even in small numbers, having Green councillors can achieve a lot as our Association of Green Councillors can attest. They have a wide range of stories about positive things Green Councillors are doing around the country.
The fact that all parties claims green credentials is a testament to how just our concerns are.
…my friends will call me a hippy
This is the easiest one to debunk. Just attend one of our meetings. Our local party are drawn from broad walks of life or geography. Despite being slightly too “white middle aged man” as far as I can see nobody fits the stereotype of being a “hippy”. Unless by hippy you mean peace-loving, humanitarian and environmentally friendly? Our meetings are usually an interesting mix of debate, event planning and socialising and usually end like all good meetings do, with a drink. There’s no dancing round trees or choruses of Kumbaya in the ones I’ve been to. We always welcome new members with new ideas, the more the merrier!
…I’m worried my taxes will go up.
It’s currently unlikely that we will be majority members of a council locally and the way local government funding is being squeezed we will have to work with other parties to really challenge the current status quo of service cuts and general inertia within our local council.
We want to properly fund our services and we need to seriously look at other ways to save money so we can afford to look after our children, elderly and vulnerable. One way may to completely overhaul our current three tier system to remove gridlock and improve proximity of decisions by making unitary authorities.
We know tax increases are unpopular, but nationally we’d look to completely overhaul taxation to make it less regressive and ensure those with broadest shoulders and large corporations pay their way. Locally, we’d seek to devolve power (and hence money) to local government to allow local decisions to have local effects.